2008 Hungarian F1 GP – Wolf’s Race Review

Heikki Kovalainen Hungary 2008

2008 Hungarian GP was not as dull as it often is. Unfortunately most of the excitement came in form of refueling fire and technical problems of the front runners. The only real racing for positions I could see (except the race start) was between Barrichello and Button in the very early stages of the race. Other than that all went according to usual Hungarian GP recipe, places were lost and gained in pitlane or to misfortune.

Heikki Kovalainen finaly scored his maiden win. I would not say it was the best race of his career. But unlike Massa and Hamilton he managed to bring the car to the finish line in one piece. At the end, that is what counts. If you want to finish first, first you have to finish … He did just that.

Felipe Massa Hungary 2008

Felipe Massa is leaving with zero points from Hungary and I do wonder what effect will this have on him. He made a perfect start overtaking both McLarens and I do not remember him doing anything similar to this before. A maneuvre like that must have boosted his confidence especially after what has happened at Hockenheim. He was controlling the race without any apparent troubles and following Hamilton’s puncture he was poised to take back the championship lead. Instead his engine blew up 3 laps from finish and he dropped 8 points back down to 3rd, behind Lewis Hamilton and even behind his underperforming team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Video of the race start (while still available) can be seen at the bottom of this post. Thanks to Daniel for the link !

Seeing McLaren’s dominanate the field for much of the weekend it was quite surprising to see Hamilton not being able to challenge Massa after loosing the lead to him in the first corner. But perhaps the Q2 times should have been the hint about Ferrari’s true pace. Hamilton’s second place however never seemed to be under any threat until that front left tyre deflated. The official reason given by Bridgestone was some debris that Hamilton picked up but I do wonder whether Hamilton’s well publicized hard-on-tyres agressive style haven’t made some contribution to the puncture as well. In any case after bad luck some good luck came his way too. Drivers way back behind him picked up 1st and 2nd place in the race, Massa scored zero and Kimi only gained 2 points on him. He may have only finished 5th, but overall, the result played in his cards. He even extended his championsip lead to 5 points …

Timo Glock Hungary 2008

Toyotas were impressive for most of the weekend and it is great to see the almost rookie Timo Glock on podium. Yes, he was lucky that Hamilton and Massa went of out picture and that Kimi obviously slowed down after Massa’s blow up. But unlike the previous “unusual” faces on podium – Barrichello and Piquet – Glock had the genuine pace to fight for the podium. He was impressive also in qualifying beating his team mate Jarno Trulli for the 3rd time this season. It looks like after slow start to the season Glock now means business …

Kimi Raikkonen Heikki Kovalainen Hungary 2008

Although finishing 3rd and getting the fastest lap again I would say this was another disappointing performance from Kimi Raikkonen. Outpaced by Felipe Massa for the better part of the weekend he never looked to be in contention for even a podium. His own mistake in qualifying relegated him to 6th on grid. Even that he could not hold on too and at the start lost a position to Fernando Alonso. He remained behind him until the second round of pit stops. He seemed to have awaken after that and would have probably tried something on Glock ahead of him. But after Massa’s race ended in smoke he backed off and cruised home in 3rd. Being ahead of Massa in the standings is sure better than being behind but Kimi needs to raise his game back to Kimi like standards if he is serious about defending his title.

Nelson Piquet Fernando Alonso Hungary 2008

Renaults had a good weekend. Alonso equalled his best result of the season and Nelson Piquet followed his unlikely podium in Germany with another finish in the points. It will be interesting to see how the cars behave in next few races. Their bid for 4th place in constructors table is well back on track. If things continue this way we may well see both drivers staying on for another season …

Robert Kubica Hungary 2008

BMW Sauber on the other hand are going through some rough times and it looks the team slipped from the front to the midfield now. Their car did not do too well in Hungary, the only bright moment being Kubica’s qualifying, in the race they were seriously off the pace. Kubica salvaged at least a point but that is still very poor result for class 2008 BMW Sauber team. Heidfeld’s qualifying performance may again spark doubts and rumours about his future with BMW Sauber team but one also should look at the race result. Kubica finished 8th after starting from P4, Heidfeld finished 10th after starting from P15. Who had worse race …

Red Bulls are also going through some slumpy period. They failed to score any points for third race in a row and have now fallen behind both Toyota and Renault on constructors table. Toro Rosso’s may be quick (especially Vettel’s) but the reliability issues are hurting them. Although they are at the moment clearly better package than Honda and perhaps Williams, they lie behind them in the standings …

Not much to say about Force India, Honda and Williams. These are currently the teams at the back, behind the strong midfield and prime candidates for Q1 elimination. They will probably all shift their focus to 2009 soon and I think we can expect them to stay where they are now for the rest of the season, unless storms or typhoons affect some of the remaining races …

Click here for 2008 season statistics

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Photos: Daimler Media, Red Bull/GEPA, Toyota Motorsport, BMW Motorsports, Renault/LAT

4 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Black ZeddNo Gravatar says:

    What a great drive from both Massa and Hamilton in the first corner. Massa did it like some sort of video game.

    Kimi’s was awful. If we’ve seen incredible Massa’s overtaking, Kimi was stuck behind Alonso until the second pit stop..I bet he’s thinking about retiring more seriously now..

    Black Zedds last blog post..Blog Commercialization is Imminent!

  2. VikNo Gravatar says:

    I’m getting always mad with you. You underrate all the time the races of Massa. He just proved he’s one of top drivers in this championship. Imagine now, he could lead this championship. And he sent a msg to Hamilton, He’s not dead, and he’ll fight always. AFter 2 races mclaren winning, he showed what he’s capable of.

  3. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    Massa’s start was incredible. The Ferrari’s seem to have excellent acceleration at the start. Kimi has been boxed out two races in a row. He also seems to be playing it safe at the start, giving up positions to make sure he remains in the race. He will have to get more aggressive if he wants to have a chance at the championship.

    I believe that had Massa not blown up, Kimi would have passed Glock and Ferrari would have been 1-3. I still think Ferrari is the team to beat and that by the end of the Italian GP, they will have regained control of the driver’s championship. Thats not to belittle Hamiton, who is driving absolutely awesome. I just believe the Ferrari is a bit better.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      well, Kimi’s car developed some problems just before Massa’s engine blew up. Kimi’s pitwall crew asked him to back down and nurse the car. So very likely without Massa’s blow up Kimi would be without podium…


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